« AnteriorContinuar »
And harshly deal like an ill borrower
With that which you receiv'd on other terms;
Scorning the unexempt condition
By which all mortal frailty must subsist,
Refreshment after toil, ease after pain ;
That have been tir'd all day without repast,
And timely rest have wanted; but, fair virgin,
This will restore all soon.
'Twill not, false traitor; 690
'Twill not restore the truth and honesty
That thou hast banish't from thy tongue with lies.
Was this the cottage, and the safe abode,
Thou told'st me of? What grim aspects are these,
These ugly-headed monsters ? Mercy guard me! 695
Hence with thy brew'd enchantments, foul deceiver;
Hast thou betray'd my credulous innocence
With visor'd falsehood, and base forgery,
And wouldst thou seek again to trap me here,
With lickerish baits fit to ensnare a brute ?
700 Were it a draught for Juno when she banquets, I would not taste thy treasonous offer; none But such as are good men can give good things, And that which is not good, is not delicious To a well-govern’d and wise appetite.
705 Comus. O foolishness of men ! that lend their ears To those budge doctors of the Stoic fur, And fetch their precepts from the Cynic tub, Praising the lean and sallow Abstinence. Wherefore did Nature pour her bounties forth, 710 With such a full and unwithdrawing hand, Covering the earth with odours, fruits, and flocks, Thronging the seas with spawn innumerable, But all to please, and sate the curious taste ? And set to work millions of spinning worms, 715 That in their green shops weave the smooth-hair'd silk To deck her sons; and that no corner might Be vacant of her plenty, in her own loins.
She hutch't th' all-worshipt ore, and precious gems
To store her children with; if all the world
Should in a pet of temperance feed on pulse,
Drink the clear stream, and nothing wear but frieze,
Th' All-giver would be unthank't, would be unprais'd,
Not half his riches known, and yet despis’d;
And we should serve him as a grudging master,
As a penurious niggard of his wealth ;
And live like Nature's bastards, not her sons,
Who would be quite surcharg'd with her own weight,
And strangl'd with her waste fertility,
Th' earth cumber'd, and the wing'd air dark’t with plumes;
The herds would overmultitude their lords,
The sea o'erfraught would swell, and th' unsought diamonds
Would so emblaze the forehead of the deep,
And so bestud with stars, that they below
Would grow inur'd to light, and come at last
To gaze upon the sun with shameless brows.
List, lady; be not coy, and be not cozen'd
With that same vaunted name Virginity;
Beauty is Nature's coin, must not be hoarded,
But must be current; and the good thereof
Consists in mutual and partak'n bliss,
Unsavoury in th' enjoyment of itself:
If you let slip time, like à neglected rose
It withers on the stalk with languish't head.
Beauty is Nature's brag, and must be shown
In courts, at feasts, and high solemnities,
Where most may wonder at the workmanship;
It is for homely features to keep home,
They had their name thence; coarse complexions
And cheeks of sorry grain will serve to ply
The sampler, and to tease the housewife's wool.
What need a vermeil-tinctur'd lip for that,
Love-darting eyes, or tresses like the morn?
There was another meaning in these gifts;
Think what, and be advis’d; you are but young yet. 755
Lady. I had not thought to have unlock’t my lips
In this unhallow'd air, but that this juggler
Would think to charm my judgment, as mine eyes,
Obtruding false rules prank’t in Reason's garb.
I hate when Vice can bolt her arguments,
And Virtue has no tongue to check her pride:
Impostor, do not charge most innocent Nature,
As if she would her children should be riotous
With her abundance; she, good cateress,
Means her provision only to the good,
That live according to her sober laws
And holy dictate of spare Temperance:
If every just man that now pines with want
Had but a moderate and beseeming share
Of that which lewdly-pamper'd Luxury
Now heaps upon some few with vast excess,
Nature's full blessings would be well dispens't
In unsuperfluous even proportion,
And she no whit encumber'd with her store;
And then the Giver would be better thank’t,
His praise due paid; for swinish Gluttony
Ne'er looks to Heav'n amidst his gorgeous feast,
But with besotted base ingratitude
Crams, and blasphemes his feeder. Shall I go on?
Or have I said enough? To him that dares 780
Arm his profane tongue with contemptuous words
Against the sun-clad power of Chastity,
Fain would I something say, yet to what end ?
Thou hast nor ear, nor soul to apprehend
The sublime notion, and high mystery
That must be utter'd to unfold the sage
And serious doctrine of Virginity;
And thou art worthy that thou shouldst not know
More happiness than this thy present lot.
Enjoy your dear wit, and gay rhetoric
That hath so well been taught her dazzling fence,
Thou art not fit to hear thyself convinc't:
Yet should I try, the uncontrolled worth
Of this pure cause would kindle my rapt spirits,
To such a flame of sacred vehemence,
795 That dumb things would be moved to sympathize, And the brute Earth would lend her nerves, and shake, Till all thy magic structures rear'd so high, Were shatter'd into heaps o'er thy false head.
Comus. She fables not, I feel that I do fear 800 Her words set off by some superior power; And though not mortal, yet a cold shuddering dew Dips me all o'er; as when the wrath of Jove Speaks thunder and the chains of Erebus To some of Saturn's crew. I must dissemble, 805 And try her yet more strongly.--Come, no more; This is mere moral babble, and direct Against the canon laws of our foundation; I must not suffer this ; yet 'tis but the lees And settlings of a melancholy blood; But this will cure all straight; one sip of this Will bathe the drooping spirits in delight Beyond the bliss of dreams. Be wise, and taste.
The BROTHERS rush in with swords drawn, wrest his glass
out of his hand, and break it against the ground; bis rout make sign of resistance, but are all driven in. The ATTENDANT SPIRIT comes in.
SPIRIT. What, have you let the false enchanter 'scape ? O ye mistook; ye should have snatch'd his wand - 815 And bound him fast; without his rod revers't, And backward mutters of dissevering power, We cannot free the lady, that sits here In stony fetters fixt, and motionless; Yet stay, be not disturb’d; now I bethink me, 820
Some other means I have which may be us'd,
Which once of Melibæus old I learnt
The soothest shepherd that e'er pip’t on plains.
There is a gentle nymph not far from hence,
That with moist curb sways the smooth Severn stream,
Sabrina is her name, a virgin pure,
Whilom she was the daughter of Locrine,
That had the sceptre from his father Brute.
She, guiltless damsel, flying the mad pursuit
Of her enraged stepdame Guendolen,
Commended her fair innocence to the flood
That stay'd her flight with his cross-flowing course.
The water-nymphs that in the bottom play'd,
Held up their pearled wrists and took her in,
Bearing her straight to aged Nereus' hall;
Who piteous of her woes, rear'd her lank head,
And gave her to his daughters to imbathe
In nectar'd lavers strew'd with asphodel,
And through the porch and inlet of each sense
Dropt in ambrosial oils; till she reviv'd,
840 And underwent a quick immortal change Made goddess of the river ; still she retains Her maid'n gentleness, and oft at eve Visits the herds along the twilight meadows, Helping all urchin blasts, and ill-luck signs
845 That the shrewd meddling elf delights to make, Which she with pretious vial'd liquors heals. For which the shepherds at their festivals Carol her goodness loud in rustic lays, And throw sweet garland wreaths into her stream, 850 Of pansies, pinks, and gaudy daffodils. And, as the old swain said, she can unlock The clasping charm, and thaw the numbing spell, If she be right invok’t in warbled song; For maid'nhood she loves, and will be swift To aid a virgin, such as was herself, In hard-besetting need; this will I try, And add the power of some adjuring verse.
Listen where thou art sitting,
Under the glassy, cool, translucent wave;
In twisted braids of lilies knitting